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This week in random Training Camp thoughts

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So it's nearly here. The whistles on the steam engine that is NFL football can be heard just over the horizon. I haven't published much this offseason, other than a few top 10 lists and a flashback break down of a game, I thought I'd give my thoughts on what I'll be keyed on through training camp and preseason.

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Special teams

It's been quite the legacy for Seattle over the years, from guys like Paul Johns, Bobby Joe Edmonds or Charlie Rodgers, even most recently Leon Washington and Golden Tate. However, last year, injuries along the core group and a lack of a true talent at the return position left Seattle nearly toothless there.

Can rookie receiver Tyler Lockett add that boost? Who else will stand out, and will Derrick Coleman return to form there? Lots more to see than just flashy returns. It's a must-watch for this team and its biggest need of improvement from last season.

Max Unger for Jimmy Graham

Still an impressive trade, but if numbers never lie, then a biggish hole needs to be filled in Seattle's offense while sententiously tucking in this new offensive powerhouse into its offense. It won't be easy, especially since center is such a nuanced position whose responsibilities go mostly unnoticed by the masses.

Field Gulls on Facebook

Graham's got a lot on his plate with a different style and approach, but a top notch A+ athlete should be okay. I'll be focused on him for 3rd downs and the opportunities he'll force by being doubled. Seattle hasn't had a pure athlete receiver of this caliber since Koren Robinson.

Kevin Pierre-Louis

After the Carolina game last season, I wanted KPL to replace Bruce Irvin as a linebacker. Pierre-Louis showed all that linebacker prowess with the athleticism that LeRoy Hill always lacked. When he makes a decision, hesitation isn't even a worry. He should improve in his second year, and with Bruce Irvin seeing more snaps in specialty packages, I can't wait to see where this kid goes.

Logjam on the D-Line

With Jordan Hill, Cassius Marsh, and Brandon Mebane, along with others, there are a lot of unknown knowns on the line this year, if you'll excuse the wording there.

We saw in the Super Bowl how the loss of Cliff Avril just devastated an already-struggling pass rush. Some will argue this should be our biggest concern, but I just feel it's the most interesting. I think Michael Bennett will continue his work and Seattle needs an Alan Branch/Kevin Williams type to eat up about 20 snaps in base defense and keep Bennett and his horrible sack dance fresher, for more pressure. (I'm sorry about the pun, truly)

Chris Mathews

No one had a quicker and more thrilling rise than this former CFL'er and free agent. I think he's battling for a job with Jermaine Kearse, to be honest. Kearse' lapses in concentration, especially early in games, have turned me off of him. Mathews, on the other hand showed body control that is rare for a big man his size. He's not Mike Williams level of "HOLY S*** did he catch that one handed?!" but his 40 yard snag over defenders made me an instant fan forever even if he doesn't make anything out of it. I'll be watching closely and rooting for him.

Russell Wilson

Contract or no contract, Russell Wilson can't escape the fact that he's struggled nightly in the playoffs, despite his winning record and impressive showing in Atlanta in 2012. Yes, he's faced good defenses, but so has every great QB. Wilson is looking for that next level and it's gotta come for him, especially in the red-zone, 10 yards and in. The Seahawks struggled to score in the red-zone all year last year, kicking way too many field goals. Does Jimmy Graham change all that? I'll be watching Wilson here just to see if Kansas City or Dallas doesn't happen again.

The engine known as Beast Mode

You know damn well none of us will be watching Marshawn play in any of these meaningless games. Marshawn will also be mysteriously excused from chunks of camp for made-up reasons. So, this is actually about what's behind him, Christine Michael? Whoever it is, they have got to find a guy who can provide a little bit of a lateral stretch the defense threat, the one thing Lynch lacks. It's the other half of the puzzle to an improved red-zone performance this season.

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So that's what I have on my radar heading into the dawn of Seahawks football in 2016. What about you? Leave your thoughts below, add to the list, attack the list. Come on dudes, we have to rev the engines here. Hawk Talk is so close I can taste it.